While Microsoft was introducing in Dynamics 365 suit in 2016 it seemed to be obvious that the potential was huge. In 2021 it is clear that the potential turned into fact – a comprehensive solution that combines CRM, ERP, business applications for analysis, and other tools streamlining managing business processes, work organization, and other activities in the organization was exactly the thing that the business was looking for. A new wave of digital transformation was knocking at the door.
However, in 2016 Dynamics 365 was lacking a very important tool that would complete the whole image of a comprehensive business environment. A special tool designed to support marketing activities, which would enable efficient cooperation of the sales department with the marketing team. It used to be a particularly significant vulnerability of Dynamics 365 given the recent importance of digital marketing. Digital marketing becomes, or actually has already become, the foundation for the functioning of any company that intends or has already achieved greater success on the market. The marketing module was the missing piece of the Dynamics 365 puzzle. The missing piece that eventually joined the Dynamics 365 family.
In the past, customers using Microsoft tools had to rely heavily on third-party services to efficiently handle their marketing. In 2012, there was the first significant breakthrough. Microsoft acquired the Marketing Automation Marketing Pilot software, which later changed its name to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Then it was announced that Dynamics Marketing will be shut down and a new product will be introduced, one that is fully integrated with the Dynamics 365 environment – Dynamics 365 for Marketing.
It was particularly important due to the growing need for a marketing platform that would be fully integrated with Dynamics 365. Not just a half-measure, but a tool that would perfectly fit into the philosophy of the Dynamics 365 family. specially developed for this purpose by Microsoft. That is why Microsoft created a new solution from scratch – also taking into account innovative products of leading competitors, such as Salesforce, which kept doing their best to stay ahead of Microsoft.
Finally, Dynamics 365 for Marketing has joined the Dynamics 365 family. Today we are going to take a closer look at this cloud-based marketing automation platform, present what kind of functionalities it offers to the business, and how can it improve both relationships with customers and the customer experiences.
What Dynamics 365 for Marketing is?
Dynamics 365 for Marketing is the first application designed to support marketing as part of the Dynamics 365 suit. Its goal is to provide all the necessary tools for small and medium-sized companies to run multichannel marketing campaigns.
It contains tools that can be used to create and run campaigns in different communication channels simultaneously. In addition, it is equipped with high-class ready-made templates that can be further adapted to your needs using an intuitive drag and drop interface.
Users can create a Customer Journey, with set messages and actions that can be triggered at various stages of the campaign, depending on e.g. the time or specific interaction with the customer. Personalized, automated interactions help to properly care for (lead nurturing) and develop relationships with potential customers and move them to the next stages of the sales funnel.
As Dynamics 365 for Marketing is part of the Dynamics 365 family – like other applications in this group, it uses the Common Data Model (Dataverse) to store and share data with other applications with other modules of Dynamics 365, such as Sales or Customer Engagement. Thanks to this, all data within the individual module is always synchronized and up-to-date, so that sales and marketing departments can fully cooperate with each other.
The Dynamics 365 for Marketing application, just like the rest of the Dynamics 365 suit, is prepared for use on many different devices – smartphones, tablets, and desktops or laptops.
Who is Dynamics 365 for Marketing for?
Dynamics 365 for Marketing provides many advanced tools, including the ability to track Customer Journey at every stage. This makes it a much more efficient solution than more basic cloud-based marketing platforms.
It is designed mainly for medium-sized organizations that have the ability to invest time and money in creating a consistent marketing strategy and wish to improve sales operations efficiency, gain access to intelligent insights, improve customer satisfaction, and implement marketing automation. Dynamics 365 for Marketing is a set of tools that will enable the implementation of each stage of such a strategy. It works best with B2B marketing but also supports B2C.
What are the most important functionalities of Dynamics 365 for Marketing?
Designing an interactive Customer Journey
Before you start creating a marketing campaign and generating leads, you need to design the Customer Journey – from the moment of visiting your website or advertisement to the moment of buying a service or product. Creating a good Customer Journey will give you a clear picture of what the customer does during his or her way through the entire customer’s journey from the moment they learn about your business. Ultimately, this will allow you to evaluate and optimize each stage.
Appropriate mapping of the transformation of the lead until they become a real client – helps to determine how to interact with leads at each stage in such a way that they decide to become clients more often.
Thanks to the use of Dynamics 365 for Marketing, a Customer Journey is not only a fashionable concept but a real experience, a practical and effective model that allows you to increase the efficiency of the sales team and the profitability of the entire company. The application allows creating customer segments, improving customer interactions, and includes a tool for creating a Customer Journey with a simple “drag and drop”, thanks to which designing and creating the customer journey is intuitive. The possibilities are virtually unlimited.
Each stage of the Customer Journey can be automated – for example, sending an e-mail to the customer with specific content after he or she performs the previously agreed action. Depending on the reaction to the above-mentioned – you can plan further actions that will encourage the lead to interact with you, which will ultimately end with a purchase. Thanks to this you are able to create very extensive and complex interaction trees that will do a huge part of the marketing work for us on daily basis.
The steps set in the Customer Journey do not have to depend on the interaction or lack of it on the part of the customer. They can also be scheduled according to a specific date and time.
Dynamics 365 Marketing also enables you to leverage the potential of campaigns carried out across multiple communication channels – with customizable templates and design tools available to create professional-looking emails, forms, and dynamic landing pages that aim to convert. An important element is also the implementation of tools that enable the lead scoring, i.e. an automatic assessment of landing page or e-mail basing on the customer’s potential level.
It is also possible to create SMS messages and campaigns on social media. For greater control over your social media marketing activities, the app integrates with Microsoft Social Management, which comes bundled with any Dynamics 365 Customer Relationship Management suite.
One of the standout features of Dynamics 365 Marketing is its event management tools. They allow to fully fit into the formula of modern marketing, which consists in providing potential and existing customers with value, e.g. in the form of knowledge. The marketing module helps to organize conferences and seminars and to manage such events.
The application offers comprehensive event management functions – event logistics, planning, registration, tracking, or such trivial issues as volume control.
A portal management system is also over there. It helps companies to create branded event portals for participants. You can inform participants about vacancies, registration methods, share information about the speakers and the schedule of the event.
Dynamics 365 for marketing also allows integration with third-party webinar platforms.
The ultimate goal of any marketing campaign is to generate leads. Dynamics 365 for Marketing includes intuitive tools that enable to acquire and manage them. It is possible to effectively track leads’ activities, score their potential, and help to nurture relationships that allow prolongation of the sales cycle and streamlines sales processes.
The automatic lead scoring system helps to qualify a potential lead and obtain it at the appropriate stage of the Customer Journey based on predetermined rules – such as the degree of e-mail engagement, website visits, previous interactions, registration for events, etc.
The system assigns ratings to leads and sends information to the sales reps on the right moment to sell a given product or service to a given person. This allows to increase both the efficiency of marketers and the sales department, as well as to improve cooperation between them.
Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn allows users of the marketing module to automatically save in Dynamics 365 leads generated via LinkedIn – from multiple accounts, score their potential, and forward them to the sales department at the right moment.
The analysis of existing campaigns is a key element when it comes to optimizing marketing strategy. In addition to the aforementioned tool that helps to score the potential of leads, Dynamics 365 for Marketing also provides extensive analytical tools for collecting and processing data.
Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights is a tool included with Dynamics 365 for Marketing. It is a service supporting business analysis on the Azure platform. It has been designed to help companies obtain comprehensive information about their customers and to present them in a visually attractive, transparent way.
Thanks to the integration with the Dynamics 365 for Marketing module – companies gain access to detailed reports on the interaction with each element of content that their customer encounters during the Customer Journey.
Dynamics 365 Portals
As we have mentioned earlier – Dynamics 365 for Marketing allows to create and configure websites/portals that help i.e. event participants to make the most of an event organized by a given company.
While using the tool user can also manage content in order to encourage customers to deeper engagement, including i.e. interactive online surveys. It is possible thanks to the integration with the Microsoft platform – Voice of the Customer, which enables the creation, analysis, and distribution of surveys among customers.
Application configuration and development
Dynamics 365 for Marketing – can be tailored to the specific business needs of your company. Changes can be implemented using tools built directly into the application or with the help of programmers.
The easiest way to develop the potential of Dynamics 365 for Marketing is to install extensions and new functions from Microsoft AppSource. For more advanced needs, you need to consult a Microsoft partner like for example ARP Ideas.